Nigeria is currently experiencing a seed deficit of about 320,000 metric tonnes, Access to Seeds Foundation, the Amsterdam-based Access to Seeds Foundation, powered by The Bills and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Netherlands government, has disclosed. Executive Director of the foundation, Mr Ido Verhagen, disclosed this yesterday at a press conference in Lagos. He said Nigeria could only boast of 80,000 metric tonnes of quality seeds, out of annual demand of about 400,000 tonnes.He hinted that seed multiplication is a sustainable and profitable aspect of farming that young and energetic Nigerians should consider. This, he added, is so because seed companies would buy the products at pre-determined prices, giving the sector an advantage over other aspects of farming.
However, despite the gross shortage of high quality seeds, Nigeria-based Value Seeds tops the rankings in a new research on seed companies operating in Western and Central Africa. The overall picture depicts international and African seed companies falling short in delivering quality seed and new varieties to smallholder farmers.This limits the potential to address food security, nutrition and climate resilience, according to a new study.
While there is a growing number of seed companies active in the region, both homegrown and international, fewer than half of the 23 companies researched conduct plant breeding in Western and Central Africa. This limits the release of new varieties adapted to the region, and explains the high number of varieties that are older than five years offered in company portfolios.